Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Still here.

Its Tuesday of the second week of Kate's summer vacation and I am tired. She hasn't been sleeping well because she keeps dreaming about people killing her. How did I get to place in my life where my 13 year old is dreaming about people ( including Kevin) killing her.

My home was supposed to be a safe place for my kids. A place where kids who did not have safety and security could find it and grow into strong resilient humans whose adverse childhood experiences did not define who they were and instead it was a place of trauma and pain.

It makes me so sad.

I wish this was not our reality and I do not see a way through this to the other side. I feel as though there is never going to be another side but instead just a life full of brokenness because I did not see the signs or listen to the warnings.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Pinpricks of light.

It has been just over three weeks since I went on meds to help manage both my chronic pain and my depression. I am not amazing fantastic but I am feeling the tiniest bit less like the world is going to end at any moment. The fact that my pain has gone from awful to moderate has helped a lot as well.

I feel like someone has poked some tiny holes in the darkness so that some light can seep in. It is slow and small but it is there. I have been listening to Laura Daigle album Look Up Child on repeat lately and so much of it speaks to hope and to knowing that you are not alone even though you feel as though you are.

I know that I have people who love me and who want me in their lives. Friends who chose to be in relationship with me because they like my company and enjoy being with me but when I am depressed all of those people fade into the woodwork I  ( because I disconnect )  and their absence then becomes part of the struggle when I feel so very alone. Parenting my kids created a lot of social isolation for me and now that the boys are not in my home I am struggling to find social situations where I feel like I can be myself without having to rehash our story 16 times or lie to people about where my boys have gone because the truth is more then they can handle.

The few local connections that have stuck through this with us have their own lives and families to manage and will be there if I ask them to be but I am not so good at articulating my needs and when I am depressed the last thing I want to do is be with people. I want to hide in my room and binge watch tv or pretend that I am independently wealthy by wandering through the mall spending money we don't have imagining that my life is some how different.

I am trying to make some solid plans with others that will get me out of my house and being social with people who get it and will not ask a million questions. Kate is in theatre camp this week and is going away for 9 days on a canoe trip later this month and although she and I are both looking forward to the change in our routine I am sort of wondering what I am going to do with myself for that long!

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Alone

I am feeling very alone today. It's Kevin's birthday and I am really missing him and am mourning the lack of celebrating him today. We have been apart on his birthday and moved the the celebration around but this is the first time there has ever been a court order that prevents us from being together.

Both Jack and I reached out to him on social media without discussing the fact that our hearts are hurting today. Jack publicly and me privately in a dm. I can see that he read it and I have no idea how he feels because hasn't responded but I had to acknowledge that I was thinking about him today. It took me awhile to figure out what to say. To keep it neutral and yet let him know that he was in my heart and on my mind.

It's also Kate's last day of school and she is having lots of big feelings about that. She is also talking about and expressing how much easier life is at home without Randall here. She feels sort of guilty for thinking and saying it but she is right and I let her know that last night when she brought it up. There are no big end of year things for grade 7 so her year is just kind of fizzling out without too much fanfare and then theatre camp starts on Tuesday for two weeks.

All around me on social media kids are finishing high school and families are posting pictures of all their kids accomplishments. I feel like it would be to create and post a photo essay called "My Reality". I could post photos of restraining orders, court documents, social workers and therapy sessions because as the school year ends that is the only thing that I have to share. Randall should be graduating but is no where near finished and Kevin dropped out in 2017.

Watching everyone else be functional in the world makes me feel very alone. I know that in many cases that is just the good part for their fake lives but I don't even have a fake life to pretend with. There is really nothing good happening.


Friday, 21 June 2019

Meh

The days just all run together into a stretch of meh -that's a technical term. I started meds last week to treat my fibromyalgia and my depression, neither my pain nor my sadness has decreased in the slightest. I know that these things take time to build up and that thing changes over night but I wish that it did.

We were away over the weekend with family to celebrate a birthday and it was a fun weekend and I managed to pull it together but it used up a whole week of spoons ( if that makes no sense to you you can read about the spoon theory here) and so once we got back on Monday I just wanted to spend the whole week sleeping. That wasn't really. an option so I have just moved through the motions of appearing functional and being presentable to the world. I can fake it well, I have been doing it for years but all I really want to do is get in my bed and alternate between sleeping and binge watching TV on my iPad until life seems a little less awful.

Instead this week I spent an entire day at the mental health hospital for a an assessment for Raymond, bought groceries, walked the dog and gone to therapy for me and for Kate and Raymond. Its almost the weekend and that will come with at least one lazy morning but there is so much to do around here both inside and out that my desire to do nothing won't really be an option.

so yep - meh is the word of the week. Maybe it will be different soon.

Monday, 10 June 2019

It's time to ask for help

It's Monday morning.

Who likes Mondays? When my boys where little I loved them because it meant school and although that came with its own set of challenges it was a welcome break after a weekend of being together all the time.

I long for those days when things were hard but predictable. I had a handle on their behaviour and rocked parenting them most days. That feels like a life time ago.

Now do I not only have no control over what is happening in our lives I am also stuck in a loop of depression and despair that I can't seem to break no matter how hard I try.

It has been happening for a long time, the constant sad and negative self talk has been slipping into my days. The tape that plays in my head that tells me I'm worthless, a bad parent, not good enough no longer seems to have a stop button. There is a pause and I might get through a few hours or even a day but before long the pause pops up and it plays again and again.

The constant tape playing coupled with a day last week that quite frankly scared the crap out of me has me waiting at this exact moment for a doctor's appointment so that I can get some anti-depressants because it's time. I can't continue to have days where I think that actually running away from my life or driving my car into something solid at fast speeds is some how an appropriate solution to getting through this.

Last week the tape in my head went from its regular set of statements to one that was suggesting various extreme things none of which were a reasonable plan. I felt so much like just disappearing from the earth would solve all my problems and as I sat silently sobbing feet away from my husband who was watching TV I was scared that the ideas in my head would become my reality.

I went to therapy last week and was honest about how hard it is to function everyday right now and within an hour of leaving I had called the doctor. Not because anyone told me I had to but because I felt like that was the best course of action given the current status of my life.

I have been here before, I have walked this road and 20 years ago when I was clinically depressed and actively suicidal the meds I was on helped and took the extreme edge off of dealing with full time  university, full time work and dealing with my own trauma story which had been largely repressed until I was 21.

I was thinking about that in the car yesterday, I remembered and started to manage my own trauma in the fall of 1998 and in the fall of 2018 my kids disclosed the trauma that they had been surviving in our home for much of their childhoods. 20 years is a long time and so much has changed in my life since then. I had no idea this is what my life would look like then, this was not my plan.

This was the road I planned to be on and yet here I am and so I must find a way to continue to walk because their really are not any other options.



Monday, 3 June 2019

I thought it would be Little Women...

When I dreamed about parenting I thought my life would be like Little Women - yes there would be hard times and life might not be easy but as a family we work together and grow through the hard parts together. There would be fond memories of our lives as the children grew and eventually had families of their own. We would sing and crack jokes and they would move into the world knowing that they were loved and wanted by parents who chose to create a family from a group of people who they came to love with their whole hearts.

I did not get Little Women but instead got Flowers in the Attic because we had a child who systematically divided our family and created such pain and trauma for all of us that we will always all be affected by the choices that he made. He pushed down his pain and trauma and then recreated what had happened to him time and time again as he hurt others because it seemed to be the only response that he could make sense of and so he clung to it. There were secrets and lies for so many years and when they finally came to light our world was shattered into so many pieces that there was just no way to gather them all up again.

Now we are beginning to share the secrets with each other as we all try to heal, to pick up as many of the pieces as we can knowing that we will never be the same as we once were. We speak of our trauma and share our pain with everyone but him because the system is trying to keep us safe by keeping him away from us but that only makes things worse. When we can't be in relationship with one another we can't heal and move forward, we can't speak of the pain that his actions have caused and trauma that he created. We can't work towards him making amends and being accountable for the choices that he made and how they have affected so many lives.

We are trapped and so is he as we all await a court to hear our stories and to pass judgement on young man who really is just a product of the brokenness of a system that was meant to protect him. As we wait I will hope and pray that he gets help to process his trauma because if that had happened we would not all be living the life we currently are.

He will always be my child.




Thursday, 30 May 2019

She was strong and taught me to be.

In one of my favourite photos of myself I am about 4 and standing in my Nana's garden among the flowers most of which are taller then I was. I am smiling and happy because when I was with my Nana I was the centre of the universe and she treated with me with so much value and respect as a person.

She was 5 feet tall and rode a three wheeled bicycle to the grocery store with me riding in the basket. She made her own clothes and sewed for her family and friends. She grew her own food and made root beer in her cellar. She was perhaps the strongest woman I will ever know and she walked her path with integrity and compassion.

She came to this place as my Nana down a path that many people have only ever read about in books.   She was born in the early 1900's to immigrant parents who were farming in the middle of nowhere on the prairies because they knew that life would be better than the one they had in Eastern Europe. She was one of 10 kids and although there was often not enough of anything they always had something to share with a visitor whether they knew them or not. She was raised to serve and to care for her the people in her family and in her community.

At about 16 she began teaching school and in the coming years she left the farm to be a nun. It was the expectation of her parents and since she was always one to listen to her parents off she went. She stayed for a number of years but as the time came to make her final vows she declared that she was not going to be able to make that commitment and she left the religious order. Her family was devastated and would not speak to her for some time. She was far away from them in large city and the nuns gave her a job as a teacher in a school that they ran. She taught as a layperson along side her former sisters and spoke fondly of those years as she moved into being an independent young woman.

Eventually she met a man and fell in love. She got pregnant and they got married. They had a son and two years later they had another son (my dad). At some point soon after they married my Nana discovered that her new husband was addicted to alcohol and gambling and when things did not go well at the club he would come home and hit her. She put up with his abusive behaviour for as long as she could but after about 10 years which included a move to the west coast so he could escape his bad debts she finally realized that he was not likely to change.

She kicked him out of their home and told him he could only his sons when we was sober. It was the the 1950's and she faced so much criticism for her choice to protect the physical safety of herself and her sons. It was hard but she made it work, she sewed for people and washed clothes. She encouraged her boys and threw herself into her church community and sang in their award winning choir. She held her head up high and walked forward showing the world that she had made the right choice.

This strong vibrant woman was the one I would come to know as a child, fiercely protective of all of us she would do whatever was needed to keep us all happy and healthy. There is a story about my Dad being responsible for the laundry and his solution being to take to his Mom's house so she could do it for him. Which of course she continued to do until my Mom found out! She would cook me whatever I asked for and sewed for me including making elaborate outfits for my dolls when I was there either after school on the weekend. Her home was my favourite place to be.

When I was about 8 my Uncle died. My Nana was devastated, she loved him with every fibre of her being even though he was a drug addict and much like his father had become quite abusive towards her. I vividly remember her profound grief as she tried to lift him out of the coffin at his funeral. I could not then, at 8, understand that her grief was so wrapped in the choices and decisions she had made and wishing that she had done things differently. All I saw was her tears and profound sadness at the loss of her son even though I did not understand why she was upset that this man who was often quite scary to me, had died.

But now as I miss Kevin and wish that we could have made different choices with and for him I understand her grief. I understand that as strong and courageous as she was she still thought that she could have changed things if she had just loved more, done more, changed her decisions. The reality is there was nothing she could have done to change the way that my Uncle lived or died.

This week I am trying to give myself the grace that I gave to her as a teen and young adult when she would talk about her regrets at the way things had turned out with her husband and with her sons. I remember talking about the cycle of addiction and how she could not of changed the choices that those men made and that she was brave and strong to leave her husband when she did. How she was a  good courageous person who had made a difference in the lives of so many people with her actions and her love.

My Nana taught me everything I know about compassion, commitment and forgiveness because no matter how badly she had been hurt she still never spoke badly of any of the men who hurt her and instead hoped that with time they would heal and come back into relationship with her. There is a part of my heart that holds out that same hope for Kevin and hopes that next time I see him will not be because his choices meant the end of his life.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Hurting

As I continue to struggle with how to move forward in this insane reality that is now my life I am often struck by how insane my new version of normal is. Yesterday without even thinking about it I told a director at DCFS that I was afraid of Kevin and of what he might do to Randall if given the opportunity. I also informed her of the many times that Kevin physically assaulted me and that the reason the restraining order is in place is because it keeps us all safe. When I actually think about the feelings and emotions that go with those very true and matter of fact statements I get pretty sad because I wish my whole heart that this was not our reality.

That being said, this person we spoke to yesterday was the first one to actually acknowledge that this is a terrible situation and that Jack and I must be devastated and how this has all turned out. Yep. It was a pleasant shift to hear someone actually look at he big picture and then to have a conversation about the impact it is having on all of us and how our desire to build a family has actually destroyed all of our lives along with so many others who have been affected by what has happened.

I also found out from her that Kevin is not living in our small town and instead in the nearby city which is also where Randall is but I doubt that they travelling in the same circles so I am pretty sure that Kevin is safe where he is. As I explained to her my concerns and the reality of the assaults by Kevin her whole demeanour and attitude shift from defensive to compassionate. We are not the enemy and we care deeply for our children and ultimately want them all to get the help the need and not punishment from punitive system that disregards the fact that hurting people hurt other people.

At the end of the day I have zero control over anything with either of my boys but I will shout at the top of my lungs to make sure that someone hears that the choices they made in my home began when they were abused in foster care. Children who were removed because of neglect and then were physically and sexually abused in a home that was supposed to be safer than the one they had left.

It breaks my heart that all three of kids were hurt in homes where they were supposed to be safe.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

to be honest...

So yesterday I wrote about being brave, I wrote about how I thought I was brave and don't feel very brave and it was not what I wanted to say and yet it was all I said.

I wanted to say that I am scared, often terrified of what is going to happen with my life. I am afraid most days that my eldest child is going to show up to hurt me or one of my other kids.  I am scared that people are going to judge be for being a bad parent. I am afraid that I am never going to lose the weight I have gained this year as I have eaten all my big feelings. I am worried for Kate and Randall and the choices they are going to make to numb some of the overwhelming pain that they feel. I am scared my marriage is over because I am not sure I can ever forgive Jack for not watching the kids more carefully. I am scared of trials, assessments, meetings and explaining again and again that I really did do my very best and my heart is shattered because my best wasn't good enough. I am afraid that no matter how hard I work we are never, ever going to be able to be a family again.

I am scared all the time.

I go to therapy every week and we glide around the issues because I am afraid that if I speak of how profoundly scared and sad I am I will not be able to recover in time to be present for my kid. I am afraid of the days where I feel so profoundly sad about my life that I contemplate changing it in the most drastic of ways. Sometimes when I feel a little less scared and I see a glimmer of hope I write to my therapist about it and in those moments I do feel brave and courageous but underneath that is fear.

Fear that I am not good enough. Fear that no matter what I will never feel safe. Fear that my selfish desires to parent are what got us to this place. Fear that I am bad person and this is a punishment. Fear someone will find this place and know who I am. Fear, fear, fear.

I am full of fear.

Last week I went away for a long weekend and I am glad that I went but as the time to go approached I was so nervous because I was terrified of being judged. I was afraid that these women who are brave with their lives would see that I was a fraud and that I was not brave but instead just really good at pretending to be brave. We have gathered together since our children were young and they know me, they have been there and supported me through so many things and yet I was afraid that this would not be the case given what has happened in my life. I was wrong, if they judged they did not share it and instead where supportive and compassionate. I was relieved.

I came home and real life started again, Kate having nightmares, court dates, therapy, meetings and endlessly advocating for our kids who deserve so much more than they have received. As it all fell into the normal swing of things I tried to pretend it wasn't an issue but it is.

If I am actually honest with myself and with the world all I have at the moment is fear.





Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Brave

I have been brave before.

 I moved away and lived alone to go to University.  I travelled though much of Asia by myself. I worked and supported myself until I was 28 and moved in with Jack. I chose to adopt children from foster care not once but twice. When parenting got hard I found other parents on the internet who were living my life and became friends with them. I travelled throughout North America and made those internet friends real in life friends. Their kids played with my kids and we hours talking about why we made the choices we did. I advocated for my kids with schools and therapists and was bold when I needed to be.

I could do brave.

Then in September the bottom fell out of my world and I felt like I would never be brave again. I felt like I lost my brave in the days that came and that my life as I knew it was over.

Today as I sat in a courtroom with Randall I did not feel brave. I felt defeated. I felt small and scared and unsure of my choices. I felt like this is not a place that I want to be and yet here I am trying to figure out which way is up in a situation where I have very little control.

Yesterday as I thought about supporting Randall in court day I had a panic attack. Last night as I held Kate as she cried because she has a nightmare that involved Kevin killing her while she was school I could not believe this was my reality.

When I chose to be brave with my life I had no idea it wold turn out like this. Today I wish that I had been less brave and perhaps a little more like my peers that I grew up with who had pretty regular middle class lives.

Instead I chose to be brave and now I wonder why.

Monday, 13 May 2019

That Day.

Yesterday was Mother's Day. It was fraught with big feelings both good and bad for me as I celebrated parenting my girl and mourned not parenting my boys in the way I want to be. I heard from Randall after I texted him and thanked him for making me a Mom. He has been super sweet lately about thanking me for being his Mom and it makes me reflect on just how far he and I have come together.

There was a time when I was sure he would never attach to me, a time when I thought I would never be good enough in his eyes to be his Mama. It shattered me for years and then when we moved away for two years for a job he and I finally grew together. It was a hard time for me as I was so sick and dark time for him as his brother was sexually assaulting him and the behaviour I saw response to that was impossibly hard to manage.

But now his behaviour makes so much sense. All of it, from the day I met that terrified little boy eating peach as he started at me with his big eyes unwilling to make eye contact with Jack or I until Jack pulled out his phone to add their birthdays to his calendar. Once there was s screen involved he was interested and we had an "in" with him, a tiny crack in his thick armour to begin working with. From that day to the day the police had to go find him after he cut up his arms with a box cutter or the day last spring when he lit our yard on fire - he was silently screaming  - help me -  but I could not figure out why.

Randall, I'm sorry that I could not hear you and will do everything I can to make sure that you can heal from the trauma others have forced you to suffer.

I did not hear from Kevin and I did not really expect to but there was a part of me that was the tiniest bit hopeful that maybe he would come around and send a text. I know deep down that is not going to happen and I know that none of the people who are in his life are going to encourage him to talk to me.

But I chose to be his Mama, I still choose to put myself out there for him and love him even if he can not love me back and because of that I will always have a small glimmer of hope that he might eventually say something. I told him my love was unconditional and although this past 8 months has tested that immensely at the end of the day I will still always love him and my heart will continue to break for the immense pain that he in because he was hurt first and then chose to hurt others as well.

Loving someone with your whole heart means that you might get your ass kicked and it has hard for me to learn to be okay with the but I am working on it.

Kevin, I will always love you and I am so sorry that you were hurt. I hope that one day you will find it in yourself to hear that I will always love you and that eventually you will be healthy enough to be able to hear those words.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Darkness

When things are at their worst I tend to get quiet and hide because it is just so overwhelming to be living this life some days and in between the tears of sadness and sheer exhaustion I do not have the physical stamina to sit down with my computer and write.

Last week one of my kids made a disclosure about something that happened while they were in foster care and it literally shattered me. There was a part of me that knew it, that sensed it, that understood it was probably the case but hearing the words come out of their mouth was so very hard. I moved through those moments with my kid in a daze, shocked and scared for them and wishing with every fibre of being that this did not have to be their reality.

I was brave and strong and then I as soon as I was alone I lost it. How much worse can this get? How many more things can they share? When are we going to stop falling in the darkness and hit the bottom so that we can begin to find out way into the light again...

As we move in the darkness and I try to support my kids my own trauma keeps getting in the way and making it even harder for me to manage to get through the day. There are days and times when it feel as though I am never going to see light again and that this version of reality is destined to be my new normal.

That is not what I want.

I desperately want to find the light. I want to be able to heal and support my kids in healing. I want the foster care system to learn from this and to change so that kids are not broken by a system that is supposed to protect them.  I want hurt kids to get the help they need before they recreate the cycle on another child. I want the workers who neglected to see the the signs in my kids to learn and grow so that they do not miss this again.

I want us to heal and learn to be family in a way that keeps us all safe and allows us to grow into something we never knew we need to be.

I want to be brave.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

I know it could be worse.

For me one of the most frustrating parts raising kids who have experienced trauma and neglect is constant battle for honesty. I lied as a kid, I had my own trauma to contend with in the family I was living in and so a part of me understands but another part of me gets so defeated every time Kate tries to pull some dumb stunt and gets caught.

I keep trying to give her opportunities to be trusted, little things like getting ready for the day without my eyes watching her every move. She does well for a couple of days and then randomly screws it up, seemingly just to see if I watching.

I am watching. I am going to call you on it and then I am going to be mad and frustrated because I do not have the energy for this battle anymore. I know that I could just let it go and not fight with her about bedtime or eating breakfast but she has to function in the world each day and I know that she is often a disaster when she is tired or hungry. She lacks the introspection needed ( like most 13 year olds) to realize this and so we battle far to often about the most basic things.

I would love to stop fighting about things and just leave it be but I fear that the consequences of that would be so much worse then fighting about them.

Monday, 29 April 2019

The Call to Courage

I watched Brene Brown's Call to Courage on Netflix this weekend and it so good. I can not say enough good things about the messages that she shares. I wrote down some of the best bits for myself so that I would actually remember them and these two phrases stood out in such a big way -

Today I will choose courage over comfort.
Vulnerability is having the courage to show up when you can't control the outcome - Brene Brown

I am seriously contemplating a new tattoo that says Courage over Comfort, seriously.

The things that are going on in my life require me to be courageous and vulnerable on a daily basis. until recently trying to be both things at the same time was killing me. I really did not feel like I had the ability to do all of the things required to juggle all of the balls in the air even though I was working hard on faking it till I made it and was doing so with a certain amount of success.

Then I decided to let myself be sad, to let myself grieve the loss of my boys, my family, my dreams and not to blame myself for what has happened. I am not saying that I am perfect but instead am saying that my children went to great lengths to conceal what was happening from me for years and then only revealed it by accident and there is no way that I can blame myself for that or for the things that happened.

I had cameras and door alarms and there was always a parent or sitter in our home. I can count on one hand the number of times my teenagers were left with their little sister on their own and I think it is three. Two of the three times were because I was done and had to step away before I lost my mind. Ironically those were not the times that things happened.

So now I will grieve this for as long as I need to and then I will figure out how to step into whatever is going to come next. It will not be easy but I will do it with courage and bravery because that is the only way I am going to survive it.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Another layer of grief.

I decided a few weeks ago that I needed to change up our Easter celebration and not spend it at home being sad about not being able to spend the holiday together as a family and missing that is has always been one of our most joyful holidays with our church community. So we switched it up and planned a weekend away with family by birth and by choice. It was an excellent weekend that included a musical, a museum visit, Easter Mass with a great community and a day with Kate's godparents (who were foster parents) whom we love to pieces. 

We learned while we were away that Kate's godfather has stage 4 cancer, it sent us all reeling to say the very least and now on top of everything else we are adding another layer of grief to our lives. He will fight and be treated but it will not be a cure and instead just a way to be able to sustain his life and spend time with the people he loves. Sadly they live about 5 hours away from us and we will not be able to spend nearly as much time with them as we would like. 

Kate understands that he is sick but doesn't understand what stage 4 means and I just do not have the stamina to tell her that one of her favourite humans is going to die long before his time. It makes me so profoundly sad for her because she has already lost so much and she cares so deeply for him. 

Grief is messy and complex and in the last few weeks I have been quite firmly stuck in sadness and although it is hard I am okay to sit here and be sad. Sad for my kids, sad for our lives and losses, sad because I will not have the future that we dreamed of as a family. I am sad that my chronic illness makes my pain intense and my days hard and then effects how we live together. 

I am sad and I am okay with that for now. 

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Advocating for their needs

Last week I discovered that things with Randall's charges where heading a direction that would mean tragic things for Randall. Luckily for me his therapist pulled out all the stops and got an amazing team of people together to try to support him and make a plan that we could present to the court to show that this kid was going to be supported within the community. 

We sat down on Tuesday with Randall on Tuesday and tried to come up with some solid support plans and although we got no where in many ways it was so nice to have all these people advocating for my boy.  Standing up and being willing to work hard for him and for us so that he gets the services he needs. 

It breaks my heart that I can't just have him come home but home is so much easier and less stressful with him living somewhere else.  I feel as though that is the mantra of special needs parents everywhere as their high needs kids approach adulthood - I love you so much but I am tired and I need a break form the level of care that I have to provide for you so that you are safe. 

Why should parents have to get to that place of burn out? Why are there not supports for us before our kid is doing things like attempting suicide? Why could I not get any help for my kid until he was charged with a crime and potentially facing serious repercussions from a crime he doesn't not understand. 

In many ways the situation is the same for Kevin but he does not want me to advocate for him and we haven't heard from him directly or indirectly since he was charged last September. I am scared for him and I often want to reach out to him but I am afraid it will end badly and as result I have not said anything at all. 

There is no parenting book for this chapter of my life. 

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Love as a Radical Act.

I have been listening to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, it has become a comfort to hear Vanessa and Casper talk about how some of very favourite books can be dissected and discussed just as I would of discussed a text when I studied theology in University. I just finished the end of the fourth book and the last few themes had my brain processing all sorts of things as I listened.

Today I listened to a number of episodes as I painted Kevin and Randall's bedroom. Painting their room was hard because my body hurts and my physical pain is bad right now but it was also emotionally hard because it in the spring of 2007 I painted that room in anticipation of what would come. I painted and sewed bedding for the boys I would come to love so very much, boys who are not here now and who I miss with every fibre of my being.

"Love is radical act" said Vanessa in the episode where they wrapped their fourth season and she is so right. She is not the first person to say it but today it really resonated for me as I work through all of the emotions that go with the events have been the last 8 months of my life.

When I first wanted to adopt, when I wanted to adopt again, when I talk about the how and whys of this journey it was always because I believed with my whole being that loving a child in need could fundamentally change the world for the child. I still believe that. I believe that somewhere inside a person will always know that they were loved and that knowledge goes with them into the world and sustains them even if that person is not there.

This theory falls apart when you add in trauma and neglect. I had no idea that those two words could change love and turn it into something to be scared of, something to run from because it might cause you to be hurt. But in the eyes of a child who has been hurt love is not necessarily a good thing. All of my kids fought not to be loved, fought to survive in a world they did not trust because it they had no reason to believe I was any different than the other adults who had hurt them, left them and then moved on with their lives as if the children no longer mattered.

My love was indeed a radical act but one that they could not receive. I worked hard to change that for them, I kept loving, kept trying, kept fighting but it was not enough. They were hurt humans who hurt other humans with devastating consequences for themselves and for Jack, Kate and I. As those consequences play out I am often asked if I still think adoption is an good option and I always say yes,  I would do it again. If I could go back and have a do over I would totally take it and I wouldn't change much except for never ever letting anyone out of my sight especially while they were playing outside.

But hindsight is 20/20 and I can not change what has happened and can only move forward as I figure out what life will look like now. What I do know is that I will continue to  to act justly,  to walk humbly and to love with my whole being.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

I'm so tired

I wonder if I have another post titled tired.. It is a common theme in my life but this week that has been the overwhelming feeling.

I am tired of working so hard with my kids.
I am tired of missing my boys
I am tired of asking for help and none being available.
I am tired of chronic pain and no solutions that actually help.
I am tired of feeling like nothing good is ever going to happen again.
I am tired of people not understanding how hard it is to tell our story again and again.
I am tired of having to let go of everything I dreamt about for my family.
I am tired of advocating.
I am tired of arguing with Jack and of worrying about him.
I am tired of taking care of everyone else.
I am tired of laundry, cooking and cleaning.
Im tired of grief and how it overwhelms me and reduces me to tears so very often.
I am tired of not being able to work because my body hurts to much and my kids needs make it almost impossible.

I am just so tired of everything and would really like it if things could get easier but given our situation I don't think that is going to happen.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Starting over

I feel like I am starting again.

My life has shifted so dramatically in the last 7 months in ways that I only imagined in my worst nightmares and yet here I am getting up day after day to a world that is so different from anything I hoped for.

I alternate between being overwhelmingly devastated  ( because I miss my boys so much) and then completely relieved for Randall because he desperately needs help and as hard as we tried no one would hear us. Now that he is back in care other adults are seeing what we are talking about and trying to get him the services he needs to be supported. I am not sure that it is going to work but it is so nice not to be the only one in his corner advocating in a world that doesn't seem to be listening.

Kate is acting like a complete fool and everything time I try to trust her, to change the ways things work in our home she is thrilled and then totally destroys my trust by doing the exact opposite of what she needs to maintain the changed rules. I just do not have the emotional resources to manage her behaviour right now and desperately just need to her to allow things to be easier for awhile so I can gather some emotional resources so that I can support her better.

I did not think that after parenting for 11 years this is the place that we would be in and that I would be trying to reinvent what our family looks like so that we can find a way to be in relationship with one another. I thought we would be getting ready to launch older kids into the world as happy young men with bright futures and instead we are worrying about trial dates, restraining orders and visit schedules that do not include Kate since they are not allowed to see one another.

This is not what I planned and I don't really want to start again.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

I was a good Mom too.

So I just finished watching the season finale of This is Us and it made me think about how I was the engine in my family too.

If you haven't seen it or don't watch it a quick non spoiler version  - Rebecca (the Mom) is in a small car accident and ends up in the hospital for a single night. In the wee hours of the morning Jack and the kids show up because they miss her and can't function without her. Jack tries to explain to a nurse why she should let them go see her even though it is not visiting hours and compares their family a car, Rebecca is the engine and without her nothing else works. The nurse lets them go see her even though it isn't visiting hours yet.

They talk through out the episode about how she is the Mom who knows and gets it, about how she used to do the little bit more so that everyone knew they were loved. I think in many ways that was me too. I so wanted our little family to be something my children would remember and I worked so hard to make sure that they got love notes in their lunches, did crafts, tried new things, travelled and got all the things I never did like a Mom who listened and volunteered at their school

I thought I had done a pretty good job for all of them. I tried really hard to make their world a happy place because I knew how crappy it had been for all of them.

Then a year and a half after Kate moved in I got sick, I have a long list of autoimmune issues that have forever changed my life. In 2015 the day after Kate's 9th birthday my car was rear ended and the result was a mild traumatic brain injury that effects my daily life and as a result my kids lives.  I am not physically the same Mom I was in 2008 when we started being a family.  That means I have a lot of guilt about not being able to do the things with Kate that I used to do with her brothers and wish I could do more.

There are a lot of layers to that guilt but it is also about me letting go of what I thought I would be at this point in my parenting journey. I am not that person and I can't go back to doing many of the things I used to do but my family is also not what I dreamed it would be.

I wish we could just wrap things up neat and tidy like they do in 50 minute episode on TV. Instead I wander through my days wondering when something is going to make burst into tears because I miss my boys or when my body will hurt so much that all I want to do it stay in bed and hide from the world.


Monday, 1 April 2019

Really Kiddo

Kate has been working on the "shock value" comment of late and seems to think the more appalled we are the better it is. Last night as we discussed a story about a young boy who killed his parents ( you can read it here) in a rural home in New Hampshire she looked at me and said, " well I have thought about stabbing you but I never did it".  She just added it to the conversation as if this was a totally normal thought to add while we discussed why kids who have a hard time regulating their behaviour should have not access to guns. I just ignored it in the moment while my mind raced, seriously kiddo, you have thought that... What do you say to that sort of thing.

Today as we went to get birth control shot she asked me if my Mom took me to get them or if I took pills. When I replied that my Mom never even thought about me being sexually active at her age and that it was not ever a conversation we had when I was a teenager she was surprised. I went on to expelling to her that I was making sure she was getting them because I was not confident that she was not going to try to use sex as a way to get people to like her and although that made me very sad for her, I was not about to deal with the repercussions of having a pregnant teen daughter because that would not be far to anyone at all. So she is going to be on birth control and until she is 16 I can continue to make sure that this happens every 12 weeks. She was sort of speechless.

I then went to yoga and thought to myself about how insane this all is. I have a daughter who thinks sex is a way to get attention, a son who got roped in by her manipulation and is now in trouble for it and another son who just reinforced for her that being controlled by his needs for sexual pleasure was totally acceptable and when she tried to speak out and get help no one believed her.

I feel so much shame about that. About how I did not believe her when she told us because I was sure that Kevin was gay and would not be interested in having sex with a 6 year old. Except he did, sexual preferences aside he is also a predator who worked really hard to manipulate our lives so that he could sexually satisfied.

But, all that being said there is also a part of me that is afraid she, much like Kevin is so mentally ill that no matter what we do no it is never going to be enough to save her from self destructing as he has. It terrifies me and makes me dread our future together.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

10

10 years ago today we finalized our adoption of Kevin and Randall. I remember the day so very well and I was so hopeful about what our lives together were going to be like. We were going to be a family and family is forever. 

My sister came with her two kids and 7 of us celebrated together, we went to court, we took pictures with the judge and social workers. We promised to be committed to these boys forever. Then we all went to a pottery studio and made a platter to commemorate the day with their small hand prints making a heart. We went out for dinner. Later that week we had a bowling party with a large group of friends and had a great night together. There are a lot of hilarious photos of the boys hamming it up for the camera with our friends who came to celebrate with us. 

Family is forever. Except when it’s not. 

Today 10 years later neither of the boys is in my home. Kevin has not spoken to any of us since his siblings made the sexual assault allegations. Randall is living in a group home and for his sanity I did not draw attention to what the day was because I thought it would make him sad and instead will acknowledge it with him later this week. 

But it struck me this morning how sad I was. How much I missed them both and how this not what I planned or what I thought my life would be like at this point. I knew the day was coming, I was aware it was today but it hit me like a ton of bricks this morning at yoga. 

One minute I was sitting there focussing on my breath and the next minute I was doing everything I could to keep the sobs that were welling up in my chest at bay so I could get through the rest of the very crowded class without making a scene that I would be unable to explain to a room full of people who really just know me as a stay at home Mom to a bunch of teens. 

I did make it through the class and to my car but as I began to drive home the tears flowed. I am missing my boys and missing the family I dreamed I would have. 

I want things to be different, I want to change the past so that this is not our future. 

I cried all the way home and as I pulled in my yard I was overcome by the fact that what I dreamt of 10 years ago ( when I was so hopeful), is never, ever going to be what happens. I am never going to have the family I dreamt of when we stood in that court room and committed ourselves to two very broken boys who I though I could fix with a lot of love, patience and commitment.

 I am not going to see them thrive and create families of their own in the ways that other Moms do. I am not going to be able to protect from the outcomes of their criminal cases or from the big bad world that is pulling them in all sorts of directions because they are not here. 

They are not here for me to hug tonight and to tell them how much I love them. They were not here to make Root Beer floats with or ice cream sundaes to celebrate this special day of love for us. 


If I had thought I would of been this sad I would of made sure I had planned things. But I hit me like a tidal wave and I just cannot seem to catch my breath. 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

A Trial

I heard on Monday via a letter the Kevin's court dates have been scheduled for October and November. The have set aside 9 days - 9 freakin days of court to establish whether or not my eldest child systamatically abused his sister over a number of years and then moved from her on to his brother and created wounds for both them that will likely always be there.

I am so sad that he could not just admit that he did it. That he could not plead guilty and accept that he had done something awful to two other humans who he was supposed to love instead of hurt. That he doesn't want to heal this and instead is just going to create more pain for all of us as we are forced to relive it again and again through the long journey of a trial and all that entails.

He is also telling people in town who go to school with Kate that he did not do it. Those much older kids then come to Kate and confront her at school, in front of other kids who may or may not have an idea about what is going on. We had to call the police yet again and report it and they tried to tell us there was nothing they could do.

Sorry that's not good enough. This should not be happening to Kate and y'all need to figure out how to make it stop. Luckily for Randall this isn't happening him for him although he did discover that one of the kids at his new school is someone who knows Kevin. I am hopeful they are no longer friends and that he doesn't figure out the connection and do the same thing to Randall.

This is one of those weeks when I can't believe this is my life and I am really not sure how all of this is going to play our.

Someone who doesn't know about any of this told me this week that I had GRIT, if only knew because most days I don't feel like anything except a big puddle of sad.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Faking it.

Fake it till you make it has been my mantra all week.

It was Spring Break here this week and although Kate and had therapy and appointments and such we also had a lot of free time to fill and I wanted to hide in my room and do nothing but that didn't seem very fair to Kate so I pulled up my socks and planned a couple of things.

There was no earth shattering excitement but there was a movie, some shopping, ice cream for lunch and a lot of new books to read. We also spent our evenings watching Worst Witch on Netflix which sort of made me want to poke my eyes out but she loved it.

I used to plan every minute of break week like this. I would plan fun things and we do things with friends or  we would go a car trip to see something new or visit family. This year I just did not have that in me.

 I am still pretty sad/angry/upset/depressed ( depending on the day) by the situation we are in and the choices that our kids have made that have gotten us to this point. I want things to be different. I want all 5 of us to magically be together and for things to be the way I dreamed they would be.

I know that is not going to happen. I know that we will never go back to the way things were and that where we are is not the result of any single event. Instead is the result of us desiring to help 3 very broken kids have a family and for at least one of those kids there was just no way that they were ever going to be able to heal enough to be a typical kid.

We tried so hard for so long and when we finally let Kevin leave our home I was devastated and so sad but I knew I had done everything I possibly could and had no other choices. When it came out that Randall also had to leave it caught me by surprise and I was so not ready to have him go. It was not what I wanted, it was not what he needed but the choice was removed from our control and as a result we had to figure it out and in a mater of weeks we went from functioning as a family of 4 in one home to a family of 4 in two homes and I miss him a lot.

I will keep on faking it with Kate over here for as long as I need to and I know that with time I will become accustomed to our new normal.




Sunday, 10 March 2019

Reading North of Normal and Growing up in an Non-Traditional Family.

So Just finished reading North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Persons, I enjoyed it did find some solace ( as I usually do) in the fact that her childhood was more insane and mixed up then mine was.

She writes quite eloquently about growing up in Northern Canada and living in tipi for much of her young life. She speaks of commune style living and having parents who struggle with addictions issues as if that is just the way we all grew up and yet we managed to not repeat those patterns for our kids and instead worked hard to create something we never had.

Much like Cea I grew up in very non traditional world. I did not have parents who lived in a tipi but I did have friends who had lived in one and whose parents often took us to the nearby nude beach were they smoked pot and drank all day and then put us all back in the car and drove us home. Sometimes we got to sit on the hood of the car until they got to the main road which we thought was the best thing ever. It as the 80's and it was a small town and no one really thought there was anything wrong with it but they were high, drunk and probably still naked which may of caused some issues if we were ever stopped.

My parents were more traditional then some of their friends, we had a nice house, they both had jobs ( most of the time) there was almost always food.  Unlike some of their friends we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted and until I was 12 I though Kool-Aid was juice. We were often left on our own and more then once I disappeared with my friends or alone and my siblings freaked out because they had lost me. I was always found and more then once I was missing because I wanted to go buy candy.

My parents would have huge parties when I was little and my sister tells stories about their ridiculous antics and leaving us with people who had no business looking after 3 young kids. I don't have a lot of memories of those events because they were 29 when they had me and by the time I was 7 we had moved to a city and they left most of their hippie friends behind but we did go back a visit a lot when I was kid. Living in the city opened had other adventures like getting trapped on the rocks of the beach when the tide came in and having to swim back to shore fully clothed at about 8 years old because other wise we would of missed dinner.

The summer I turned 12 they left me in that small town I been born in for 2 weeks with friends who were about 21 and had a young son. The couple didn't really care what I did or if I was there and so I spent most days tubing down the rapids with friends and then lounging around in our bathing suits eating candy we had stolen from the corner store. By the time my parents came to get me I had literally been in my bathing suit for days and had no idea whose house my suitcase was at. They did track it down and didn't seemed at all phased by what had been doing for the last two weeks.

There were always friends of theirs living in our house or camping in our driveway. It was not unusual for there to be a whole extra family camping out in the rec room for months while they got themselves organized. There was always enough food that could be stretched to serve another person or two and it was not unusual for a friend to conveniently show up right around supper time so that they could be fed too.

I had a "uncle" who used to visit with his laundry every few weeks and have dinner with us while he waited for it to dry. There were cousins who came and went, foster kids and developmentally delayed adults who lived in our for stint. We always had a big house and there was always a spot for someone else to stay when they needed it.

Perhaps one day I will write about it in detail. It was quirky and weird and definitely not the kind of childhood one expect that I had if you meat my parents on the street because they seemed so normal.


Saturday, 2 March 2019

If one of my children were physically sick people would care...

I am feeling so very isolated at the moment. Many of my friends have been very judgemental and have distanced themselves from what is left of my family. Those who have remained and have tried to be supportive have busy lives of their own and my immense needs at the moment can be more then I want to burden a couple of close friends with.

If my child cancer or needed surgery there would be meals, support and prayers. Physical illness is easy to rally behind, it is easy for people to understand and to support because they can relate to it.

My adopted from foster care children sexually assaulted each other and all there is, is silence and judgement. I get it but it makes me so sad. My family has been torn apart, our dreams have been shattered and we are struggling to pick up the pieces all by ourselves because no one has the understanding that is needed to be supportive in a this type of crisis.

On Friday Kate got into trouble at school and there was no one to turn to, no one to connect and frankly no one to laugh about the ridiculousness  that has become my life and this is so not what I thought I would be doing at this point.


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Dear Kevin,

Dear Kevin,

I sat down with your birth mom last week to talk about the current state of our lives and how the choices you have made have changed the course of so many lives. I wish I could have the same conversation with you. I wish we could talk so that you could hear that I still love you and that we all  can forgive you and move forward to build a new path as a family. It will never be the same as it was but it can happen.

I want to tell you that I am sorry that you were hurt as a little kid. I am sorry that you did not feel safe or loved or wanted. I am sorry that you had to move as many times as you did and that you could have a stable understanding family who loved you from the moment that they knew you were going to be born.

I have made so many mistakes as a human and as a parent. You and I learned and grew together in so many ways when you were a little kid. I had no idea what parenting 2 boys who had a really rough start to life would be like. I thought I knew but you quickly showed me I had no idea. Once I realized that I worked so hard to figure it out, to get help, to learn and figure out how to help you learn to love and attach to adults.

I have so many dreams for you, for us, for your future.

I miss you everyday and hope that you are doing ok.

I will always love you
Mom

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Love

I have been listening to the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text for a awhile now. I get a couple of episodes in a week and eventually I will catch up to their current shows. But as I listen to the early ones I am struck by how profoundly so many of the episodes touch on so many of the things that are going on in my life. I find myself thinking again and again about how their themes address what is going on in my world right now.

In the first book they look at the themes of loneliness, commitment, fear, vulnerability, promises, goals, betrayal, and hope. I am at the end of the second book and the episode I listened to while I was making dinner was on the theme of love, if you want to hear it go ahead and go listen now ( book 2, Chapter 18). Then come back and finish reading.

They address love in so many different ways but the one that stands out for me is how you love someone and then send your love with them into the world and hope that you don't lose the person that you love. I stopped chopping carrots and thought about that in terms of my children and the life we are living at the moment.

I fell in love with these children because I wanted to be their Mom. They were not born to me and instead walked in the front door bringing with them a whole world of pain and trauma that meant the my loving them was going to hurt me too. I did not know that when I met them. I did not know that my love and commitment was not going to be enough to heal them. I so thought that I could fix everything for them with love, homemade halloween costume and amazing meals.

I quickly learned it was going to take a lot more to help them and so I read and went to workshops. I networked and researched and did everything I could while I loved them to pieces in the midst of our chaos.

It was not enough for Kevin. Once he went out into the world my love and connection to him was not enough. That hurts so much. I miss him and so wish that we were not in a situation where choosing between our children was necessary.

But I don't regret loving him as fiercely as I do. Perhaps one day he will remember that love. He will be reminded of it and be ready to make things right.



Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Answers would be welcome.

I have been thinking a lot about what my family is going to look like going forward. This is not what I planned, this is not what I wanted and yet here I am.

I married a man much older then me, I convinced him to adopt and then thought I might have a baby. That didn't happen and we adopted again. I thought that even though things were hard I would be able to have a family to love and connect with as I moved through my life. I thought I would be able to make it different then the family I grew up in. I thought I would be the connected Mom who advocated fiercely for my kids and helped them to become successful ( whatever that might of meant for them) adults who had parents in their corner.

Now I have a rapidly aging partner who doesn't take care of his health, one child who pretends we do not exist, one who has been removed from my home and one who is 13 - girls at 13 are hard. My boys are both facing sexual assault charges from the things that happened in our home. My daughters life will be forever altered by the fact that we adopted her. We fought for her to be in a home with other kids so she could learn to be a kid again and instead she learned that brothers have sex with you and when you speak up no one believes you. I may never get over the fact that none of us believed her and social workers and therapists wrote letters to suggest her stories should not be believed.

The guilt and shame are so overwhelming some days.

I am not working, I miss my job and the community that came with it and I am still bitter that I had to leave because of my kids profound needs. I have way to many health issues many of which are a result of the immense stress that has been the dominant part of my parenting journey.

I often wonder what my life will look like in 10 years. Will I be all alone in the world? Will any of my children be a part of my life? Will I regret ever taking this on?

I wish I had answers but when I ask questions they just lead to more questions.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

It could of been done so much better

So Randall was charged on Tuesday morning. The detective was amazing and supportive, she gets how impossibly hard this for all of us and showed us so much compassion.

DCFS on the other hand showed us zero compassion and had no actual for plan for Randall even though everyone had known for weeks that this was going to happen. He and I spent 5 hours sitting in a waiting room while they tried to get their crap together and find a place for him to go because I could not bring him home.  They did have a group home bed that was found and secured by my therapist but since they did not have their crap together that was not secured for the day that it was required. I was so mad.

He ended up going to a foster home about 2 hours from here for the rest of this week until his group home bed was ready today. I met him in our town and took him to therapy and then to the Group Home. He was lucky to get a spot, he had some great people advocating for him with the supervisors at the group home and that they meant they made some exceptions and offered him a bed. We are so lucky that they did. They get trauma, they staff are trained in DDP ( dyadic developmental psychotherapy ) which is a fantastic thing and they kids like Randall.

It's going to be a huge shift for him and I have so many feelings about letting go of my boy but I did not really have any other choices. We are going to have to figure out how to support him and help him as best we can from here and hope that it is enough.


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Let's Talk about the last 4 weeks.

We came home from vacation to messages from DCFS and the police due to the investigation that was started before the Christmas holidays. We rushed around and took children from here to there and tried our best to get the chaos under control.

 It didn't work.

We did not get it under control because about 12 hours after we got back from our trip Kate disclosed that Randall had been sexually inappropriate with her as well. It was much different then what had happened with Kevin and in some cases her idea but yet it was still wrong.

Randall is being charged and will move from our home next week and since the allegations we have not been allowed to leave them in the same place in our home for even a moment. There are adult eyes every time they are in the same room and it has made life impossibly hard.

I feel like such a failure as a parent, as a human, as a survivor myself. How did this happen? How did I miss it? Why didn't I push more when Kate spoke out at 6? Why didn't anyone hear her when she spoke the words aloud at school? Why are we all so very broken?

I feel so much shame and have no answers just more questions.

My shame has kept me from here because I have known how to admit to the universe that I have failed so profoundly.

People in my life keep telling me I did everything I could, I tried so hard and this is not my fault. My kids were broken when they came to me. My kids had already been hurt so very many times and the fact that they hurt each other is tragic but it is not as a result of anything I did... except adopt them.

I can hear that mantra somedays but today I am overwhelmed and feel like my life is never, ever going to get better.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

I don't even know where to begin.

* I started this post last week - then the carpet was ripped out from underneath me yet again and I fell to ground... I am working on getting back on my feet so I am finishing this post before I start another for which the title would actually be more relevant. I was going to include it here but there is just no way to do that.*


We just came back from a week away in the southern sun. Eat, sleep, knit, swim - repeat for 7 days. It was lovely. We took Kate and Randall and while Kate was mostly fantastic and enjoyable to be around Randall was so hard to be near. He was unhappy, sullen and resentful for much of the week. We let him do his own thing as much as possible because I did just not want to deal with the behaviour. I am pretty sure he drank himself into a pain free oblivion most days all with all the other hurting people at the all-inclusive resort we were at. We knew it was happening, we commented but short of holding his hand for 7 days we were really unable to stop it.

We have watched him struggle with alcohol already and he isn't even legal age yet. He leans towards alcohol and drugs because they numb his pain and although I get that, it breaks my heart to realize that  he will likely struggle with the issues for the rest of his life. He doesn't seem to understand the destruction they can cause even though he knows that his parents drug use is what brought him into the foster care system to begin with.

We talk and we talk, we provide examples from his life, we share news stories and yet we can not seem to get him to understand why his choices are an issue. It is so hard to stand back and watch the train fall off the tracks and to be completely help less to stop it.

Kate was better, there were some rocky moments for sure but she is 12 and that sort of explains everything in and of itself. She did not really make friends while we were there. There were other kids but she seemed unsure of herself so we just hung out together. We played cards and banangrams together while we drank mint the in the lobby. It was a good week for her I think.

I know that this is likely that last vacation we will take as a family and so I tried to hang on to it, to make it good even though it was really hard at times.